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Ventura County Leaders Say Get-Togethers, As Opposed To Reopenings, Fueling COVID-19 Spike In County


The number of COVID-19 cases on the Central and South Coasts continues to spike. 

The region’s public health officials are worried, and are afraid the bad situation will get worse if people ignore safety precautions and take part in big Thanksgiving gatherings. 

Ventura County has had near a thousand new cases in the last three days, and officials think the main reason why is get-togethers.

The increase in cases in the region continued Wednesday, with 539 new cases reported.  Ventura County had 365 additional cases, Santa Barbara County had 91 and San Luis Obispo County 79.

Ventura County Public Health Director Dr. Rigoberto Vargas  says they think people getting together is fueling the spike, citing Halloween parties as one example.

New coronavirus safety guidelines are now in effect on the Central and South Coasts, after the state moved the three counties from the red, to the most restrictive purple reopening level.  As of Wednesday, indoor dining, gym workouts, going to a movie, and attending religious services indoors are now banned because of COVID-19 safety concerns.

The action has left many Ventura County businesses, as well as county leaders frustrated.  County CEO Mike Powers says that while businesses may be behind the surge in some parts of the state, they don’t think it’s the case in Ventura County. 

He says state inspections showed that of more than 4,000 businesses inspected by the state, more than 99% were in full complaince with COVID1- safety regulations.

Los Angeles County, which has had a much larger spike, is looking at moving past the state action with tougher restrictions.  Starting Friday, its bars and restaurants will have to close at 10.    And, if things get worse,  LA County may put a 10 p.m. curfew in place, and force restaurants back to takeout-only.

But, Powers says Ventura County isn’t at that point, and right now he thinks they won't have to take similar steps.

Public Health officials say one of the keys to stopping the surge is how people handle Thanksgiving.  They say large family and friends gatherings are a recipe for disaster.  County health officials advise against all gatherings, but say if you do, it should be outside, with nore more than thee families, and all family groups socially distanced from each other.

Santa Barbara County’s Public Health Department has taken an even tough stance. It has a no gatherings order in effect though the end of the year, except for people already living in the same household.

All three counties are advising against holiday travel.

Doctors say you have to be honest with yourself if you don’t feel well.  There are a dozen possible symptoms ranging from headaches to gastrointestinal issues.  If you have any of them, it's time to get tested.

Health officials say until vaccines are widely available, limiting the spread of the virus is primarily in the hands of everyone in the community, which means following safety precautions like wearing a mask and social distancing we all know by heart.